There are various types of qualifications available:
- At 14 GCSEs in English and maths will help get you into this sector. Also, although not compulsory, if you know you are interested in this sector you could choose to do a vocational GCSE (if offered by your school). Your school might also offer vocational qualifications such as BTECs, OCR Nationals, etc.
- At 16 you have more options, you could do A Levels, which are general academic subjects or develop your knowledge and skills for this sector through an apprenticeship/traineeship or a vocational qualification.
- At 18 or 19 your options open further - you may wish to do higher education/university, with 8 out of 10 A Level students choosing this pathway and half of all BTEC National students. However there are other routes into your chosen career through apprenticeships and vocational qualifications.
The creative industries are difficult to get into – highly competitive and always changing with new technology and ideas, so you will find that you’ll be choosing a career that is unpredictable and uncertain. For those who like routine and need a steady income, this may not be for you!
For others, the competition and constant change is an enjoyable challenge and the reason they choose to work in this type of profession.
Different areas of work in the creative and media industries will want different skills and qualifications – but they are all looking for confident, professional and reliable young people You will need to be able to communicate with all types of people – sometimes a second language can be useful. You'll also need to be able to problem-solve. Having a commerical understanding can sometimes make up for less than outstanding qualifications.
To get into this sector you’ll need to develop your knowledge of the subject, have technical skills and creative ability – try to talk to people already working in this sector, as there is a lot of misunderstanding about what it involves and the kind of skills employers are looking for.
Have a look at job adverts to get an idea of the kind of work involved and to check out the qualifications and skills required.
Routes into this sector
Many new jobs in creative and media have been created due to changes in technology and how we live our lives. For example YouTube now hosts many online special interest channels like Yogscast which now has more viewers than ITV. For those would be journalists its important to look at how the number of people reading print newspapers continues to decline as people prefer to read their news through their app on their phone. Technology will continue to change jobs, with some jobs disappearing and new ones being created. Being creative and having digital skills will be important for anyone wishing to pursue a career in this sector.
There has been a growth in the number of creative and media companies offering apprenticeships. However, the majority of employees still have a degree. To find out more about job roles, routes and qualifications visit these sites:
Creative Choices: for careers in craft, design, heritage, jewellery, literature, music, acting, theatre, dance and visual arts
Creative Skillset: for careers in animation, computer games, visual effects, TV, radio, film, fashion, design, advertising, social media creative hair and makeup
Thinking about a degree
- Find out what A Levels you need for Art and Design
- Find out what A Levels you need for Media
- Find out what A Levels you need for Drama
- Find out what A Levels you need for Music
Spotlight on.... Apprenticeships
Getting into the Creative and Media sector can be difficult and competitive but an apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to impress employers straight away and start to build up a network of contacts. If you have the drive then an apprenticeship is a great chance to prove yourself.
An apprenticeship will help open doors to contacts, provide paid employment and give you the skills and experience employers are asking for.
The film below features young people talking about their apprenticeship in the creative sector.
Websites for job vacancies in this sector
- For information on careers in newspaper journalism, see the National Council for the Training of Journalists; www.journalisted.com; www.journalism.co.uk
- Creative England, an agency for the development of film, television and digital media in the South West England, also helps foster local talent.
- Creative Choices- job opportunities for vacancies in the Creative sector.
- Creative & Cultural Skills – the Sector Skills Council for advertising, crafts, cultural heritage, design, music, performing, literary and visual arts.
- Hiive is the job website for Creative Skillset, offering: TV, radio, film, publishing, digital, computer games, advertising, animation, fashion and design. It has work experience, internships, apprenticeships and entry level jobs too.
Why not try a free, online course (MOOC) in this job area?
Future Learn have lots of free online courses that will improve your knowledge of this job sector and improve your chances of landing your dream job. e.g. The Open University has developed a 6 week course about The Business of Film.